Mother’s Day. Something I spent the first 30 odd years of my life trying to make special for my own mum (I still do). She tragically lost her mum to cancer when she was 13. And back in the 60’s the level of responsibility of running a household fell swiftly and harshly on her very young shoulders.
That loss shaped my mum is so many ways, even her career choice of becoming a nurse was founded through wanting to look after people and mother them.
When we started trying for a family of our own, I lent on my mum so much. The pain of going through unsuccessful treatment was torturous and as Mother’s day passed each year I enjoyed spoiling my own mum as a protection for my own heart. In 2016 I was blessed to become a mum to our son Austin, who arrived 3 years after trying via IVF.
I now realise I mothered lots of people and things long before I became a mum to Austin. My friends were mothered when they needed it (even when they didn't) I mothered my husband and all my beloved pets too. And actually now looking back, I probably mothered my own mother too over the years.
I still find Mother’s day hard, even in the following years since our son was born. As we now try and cope with recurrent miscarriage and the babies and children that should be in our lives. It is a very obvious reminder of what we are missing. I can feel the pain of others in similar situations who can feel that very gapping hole of loss.
I recognise how my own mothers pain is still ever present 50 years on and can understand what a painful reminder each year brings. Just like infertility hasn't left me either. The pain and loss doesn't disappear when you finally meet your baby. It just quietens ever so softly and reminders of that time can still be extremely triggering. I feel proud that I feel more empathy, more connection with others and I am proud of the mum I am.
So when I started writing this, my first thought was; what does the word Mother actually mean?
The verb “Mother” - look after (someone) kindly and protectively sometimes excessively so.
Well, don’t we all do that, at some point throughout our lives? So as Mother’s day approaches I would like to say to those with painfully empty ams, either from the loss of their children or still patiently waiting, please don’t let society define your role as a mum. If like my mum you are missing your own mum dearly, please know you are loved. And for anyone reading this, make sure you spoil those in your life that have looked after you in some capacity, because those mothers are the most special kind there are.